La. offers veggie vouchers

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 17, 2009

VIDALIA — Louisiana seniors looking to get fresh vegetables from roadside stands and farmers markets have an opportunity to receive $20 in vouchers to do just that.

The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program has already mailed out thousands of booklets of vouchers this year, but a news release from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry said the program still has funds available to distribute more vouchers, which are good until Nov. 30.

J.C. Tolbert’s roadside stands on U.S. 84 in Ridgecrest and at the Catahoula Court Motel in Jonesville have participated in the program for the last four years.

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“When (seniors) come, I would have to tell them what is a Louisiana-grown product, and they have to buy the Louisiana-grown products,” Tolbert said.

The $4 vouchers come in booklets of five, and have to be redeemed at roadside stands or farmers markets that have been approved by the Louisiana farmers’ markets program. The vouchers can only be used for vegetable or fruit purchases, and the stand operators cannot make change from a voucher.

Those who want to sign up to receive the vouchers can do so at the Concordia Parish Council on Aging office at 318-336-7887.

Potential recipients need to bring proof of income, their Social Security number, address and birth date to the Council on Aging office at 405 Carter St.

Recipients must be at least 60 years old and have a limited income. The income requirement for a one-person household is $20,036 annually or less, or $26,955 annually for a two-person household.

Those who receive U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities, food stamps, and supplemental security income or receive Medicaid are pre-qualified for the voucher program.

Buddy Miller’s Plantation Pecan Company roadside stand, which operates at 1629 Carter St. on Wednesday afternoons, also participates in the program.